Neck Pain: Do Women Suffer More? | News | Loyola Medicine
Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Loyola study finds women suffer more neck pain than men due to cervical disc degeneration

Woman in neck pain

MAYWOOD, Ill. – Women are 1.38 times more likely than men to report neck pain due to cervical degenerative disc disease, according to a study of adult patients treated at Loyola Medicine’s Pain Management Center.

The study by Meda Raghavendra, MD and Joseph Holtman, MD, PhD, of Loyola University Medical Center and Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, was presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine in Palm Springs, Ca.

The findings add to the growing body of research on the differences in which men and women experience pain. Previous studies have found that females are more likely to be treated at pain clinics for chronic pain and that certain painful conditions, such as migraine headaches and fibromyalgia, are more common in women. Various explanations have been proposed, including hormonal differences and the belief that men may be less willing to report pain.

Cervical degenerative disc disease is a common cause of neck pain. Symptoms include stiff or inflexible neck, burning, tingling and numbness. Pain is most prevalent when the patient is upright or moving the head.

The Loyola study included 3,337 patients who were treated at Loyola’s Pain Management Center. Sixty-one percent were female.

Drs. Raghavendra and Holtman conducted a similar study of patients who were treated at Loyola’s Pain Management Center for lumbosacral degenerative disc disease (lower back pain). The prevalence in females, 12 percent, was slightly higher than the prevalence in males, 11 percent, but this difference was not statistically significant.

Dr. Raghavendra is an associate professor and Dr. Holtman is a professor in the Department of Anesthesiology of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. Dr. Holtman also is program director of Pain Management.

Loyola’s Pain Management Center provides integrated clinical care for the management of acute and chronic pain. The multidisciplinary team includes anesthesiologists, psychologists and pain specialists who work closely with orthopaedic surgeons, neurologists, oncologists, otolaryngologists, gastroenterologists and other specialists to care for patients with a wide array of painful conditions.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 129,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.